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100% More Cataclysmic!

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I just finished my first week of graduate school, and boy does it take up a lot of time!  This weekend is really going to make me appreciate how relaxing the summer was.  Now I am at Mariana’s house, where I am  trying to help her with her plight with pneumonia (Don’t worry, she’s on the road to recovery!)  What this really means is that I am away from my mega-awesome PC and only have my laptop to play WoW.  Well….I tried that just now….and I don’t think I can play more than 5 minutes of 4 frames a second…oh well =P  Now I have an excuse to write an exhaustive article about the Cataclysm announcement at Blizzcon 2009 and what it may mean for the future of World of Warcraft:


First, the backstory…

Horde and Alliance are dealing with Arthas, the Lich King, in Northrend.  He is a bad guy, and rightfully so, we are responding to his threat.  Meanwhile, under the earth and in the Elemental Plane of Earth, Deathwing the Destroyer (previously known as Neltharion the Earth-Warder), dragon aspect of the black dragonflight, has been tending to his wounds from the War of the Ancients and planning his next move carefully.  The Old Gods have been gathering power, as seen through the awakening of C’thun and the prison break-out of Yogg Saron.  Their power has spread to Deathwing as well, who has seen a 10-fold increase in his power since his last appearance on the physical plane.  The whispers inside Deathwing’s head have also increased in intensity, driving him even more crazy.

It is time for Deathwing’s plans to take effect.  With the mortal races locked in a battle with the Lich King at the gates of the Icecrown Citadel, Deathwing literally errupts from the Elemental Plane of Earth and rips through into the Physical Plane.  This eruption destabilizes all of the elemental planes (the others are water, fire, and air) and looses many more elementals upon Azeroth.

The eruption also scars Azeroth forever.  The powers of the Earth-Warder ripple through the planet, leaving huge gashes in places like the Barrens, sending the ocean into Darkshore and wrecking the Alliance town of Auberdine.  Blackrock Spire erupts, changing the landscape and opening up a new base of operations for the Twilight Cultists.  Other places, like Desolace, benefit from the Cataclysm: It’s shoreline wrecked, water floods in and lay down the foundation for a more fertile land.

Finally, an entrance is made to Deathwing’s hiding place in the Plane of Earth.  Called “Deepholm”, adventurers will be able to venture into Neltharion’s home and take the battle to his sanctuary.  On the Physical Plane, Deathwing took up residence in Grim Batol, along with his Twilight Cultist followers.

The Future…

So now that the world is ruined, what should we expect?  Well for one, the feud between the Horde and Alliance will ramp up.  Orgrimmar will be outfitted with better armor (a lot more steel), Southshore will be taken over by the Horde, and Zoram Strand in Ashenvale will get bigger and more armored.


The level 1-60 leveling experience will also get a face lift, being made friendlier and more streamlined to avoid having to figure out which zone to go to at which level…the quests should have a feeling of more flow from zone to zone.  Also, some zones you know as level 20 zones will become level 40 zones.  This goes for all the zones: their monster and questing levels may be changing.


Did I mention flying mounts in Azeroth?  They are going to be remapping both continents  in order to have a fully fleshed out landscape that will allow flying anywhere.  this means you can fly from Undercity to Booty Bay on your own mount and still get there in 14 minutes or however long it takes to fly that stupidly far distance.  Places like Undercity and Orgrimmar are getting updated to look better from the top, as in the case of both cities, a wall in the front blocks the view so the designers didn’t ever design what it would look like from the sky.

New Zones

There will be seven new zones in Cataclysm: Gilneas, The Lost Isles, Mount Hyjal, Uldum, Twilight Highlands, Deepholm, and The Sunken City of Vashj’ir.

Gilneas and The Lost Isles are the starting areas for Worgen and Goblins, respectively (i’ll talk about them in a few moments).

Mount Hyjal is in trouble, again.  This time, Ragnaros, released from the Elemental Plane of Fire (and apparently really really pissed off about dying in Molten Core) is out trying to destroy the world tree by way of inferno.  He is at his full power now, showing you that once and for all, Molten Core was merely a setback.

Uldum is a Titan compound in the desert south of tanaris.  Apparently, a giant Titan cloaking machine was used to hide Uldum (but they missed the door with the elite’s hanging around it?….) but said device broke when Deathwing ripped Azeroth asunder.  Titan cloaking machinery isn’t what it used to be I guess.  Rumor has it there is some Titan super weapon in the desert of Uldum, and everyone is out to get it…including you!

Twilight Highlands will include Grim Batol and be the hangout place for Deathwing and the Twilight Cultists.  It will encompass the area northeast of the current Wetlands.  It will also be a level 85 zone.  (What? level 85?  I’ll also talk about that in a few moments)

Deepholm is the original hiding place for Deathwing in the Elemental Plane of Earth.  Expect Old God influence down here close to the center of the world, where the Old God’s are locked up.  I would also expect Earth Elementals and lots of nature resistant monsters.

Finally, The Sunken City of Vashj’ir will be a sunken night elf city underneath the Maelstrom.  There will be underwater combat and underwater instances.  It will also include the instance to the Elemental Plane of Water, which will be a whirlpool at the bottom of the ocean you have to get sucked into.  Why it is named after Lady Vashj, handmaiden to the night elf Queen Azshara, we may never know.  As far as I know, Lady Vashj is still hanging out in Serpent Shrine Cavern out in Zangarmarsh….

New Races

The Cataclysm affected more than just what we knew.  The Goblin island of Kezan got rocked hard when their island volcano started spewing liquid hot magma, so they fled.  One particular cartel had their boat shipwrecked upon The Lost Isles, a group of islands between Kezan and Kalimdor.  Throughout the starting zone for the Goblins, you will go from neutral to finding refuge with the Horde in nearby Orgrimmar.


At the same time Kezan’s volcanos were exploding, earthquakes were knocking down the Greymane Wall in southern Silverpine Forest.  What lay behind the wall was unexpected (well, the community expected it, but lorewise, completely unexpected!).  The Worgen curse spread to the humans of Gilneas, where they have fought to keep their humanity and not be taken by the vicious animal now living inside them.  Playing as a Worgen, you will be able to convert between human and worgen form anytime while out of combat, but must always be a worgen while in combat.  I suspect when you enter combat in your human form, you will go through a quick form change animation to fight as a worgen.  The out of combat form change animation is available online in the form of a video from blizzcon, and I must say it looks pretty darn awesome.

Increased level cap

Forget that +10 levels per expansion set you were taught back with Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King…only 5 new levels are being added this time around with a level cap increase to 85.  Blizzard says this is because they wanted to focus more on revamping the entire world and also honing their focus on endgame.  Obviously they want to get more into storytelling at the level cap, so the more people who can get to the level cap and actually listen to their story, the happier they will be.  Questions like “will heirlooms still work in the expansion?” have yet to be answered….

New Raids and Instances


Blizzard has said they will release Cataclysm with 8 heroics and 4 raids for level 85 players.  Of these 8 heroic instances, 2 will be revamped old world instances: Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep.  The other 6 will be in the new zones that are being added.  I can see the reasoning behind making heroic Shadowfang Keep, with Archmage Aurgal and his connection to the Worgen Curse, but I think heroic Deadmines is just for the fans who wanted more VanCleef.  If they give Horde a flightpath in Westfall, I’ll be happy about this heroic.

Comment your thoughts/opinions!

Response to Blizzcon 2009

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So before I even start, I just want to say this entire post is my (Nick Fox’s) opinion ONLY!  Mariana has other opinions and I’ll let her post them.


Blizzcon 2009 was last Friday and Saturday, and we saw the offical announcement of the third expansion set “World of Warcraft: Cataclysm”.  I’m very excited about this.  Now, I didn’t attend blizzcon nor did I buy the $40 direcTV or online stream of the convention, but I did follow a few live blogs from the convention floor and I have been watching the panels for free on youtube now.

My first impression of this expansion set: AWESOME.

My second impression of this expansion set: WOW I’M NOT IMPRESSED WITH GOBLINS.

Seriously blizzard…Goblins?  The one dimentional new yorker rip was funny for the occasional blimp ride or vendor in booty bay…but now I have to share my cities with them?  Yuck.  Now, I think their lore is okay, and I know some people don’t like the “there are neutral goblins and now there are Horde only goblins” and I know there are also Deathwing only goblins (they’re there, read “War of the Ancients” trilogy), but I can look past all of that and see these poor, islandless islanders looking for a home.  And c’mon, they’re green, orcs are green, some undead have green hues in their skin, and some trolls are also green…they fit right in!

Worgens on the other hand….completely awesome.  Between the old timey Jekyll and Hyde feeling of Gilneas (fitting) and the ability to switch between human and worgen form out of combat…it’s all great.  Alliance get a sweet new city, and Horde possibly get a ruined Undermine, but probably not, since the Isle of Kezan isn’t even one of the zones being introduced…sigh.

Now when it comes to old world Azeroth getting offically messed up, I’m very happy.  There are only a few portions of a few zones that I really like…and even if I don’t like the new cataclysm’ed zones, I’m really happy Blizzard is taking a bold step in terms of map reforging.  MMO’s by definition are an evolving world, so things you knew five years ago, shouldn’t stay the same just to stay the same.  Sometimes, a huge, angry, black dragon aspect rips through the very fabric of your mortal plane and tears the world asunder.  It happens, and if you don’t like it, play single player and don’t get the downloadable content!  I am especially happy as a Horde member to finally take Southshore for ourselves (see our pre-Blizzcon wishlist) and that the Alliance town in Darkshore gets completely ruined.  My Horde heart swells with joy!  Plus, Orgrimmar gets steel!

Better get Loremaster and The Explorer titles now before everything changes!

Written by Nick

August 24, 2009 at 4:53 am

Posted in cataclysm, Personal

Here’s to Hoping…

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In light of recent leaks regarding vast reshaping of Azeroth for the Cataclysm expansion, I have decided to make a list of events that I hope happen. These opinions come from leveling many many alts through all of these zones. In order of zone level:

Durotar – Goblins hate razors (who knew, it’s a cultural thing I guess) and completely ravage Razor Hill. Garrosh is too busy nerdraging to read anything, so he signs off on a plan to build a cable car between Sen’jin Village and Orgrimmar. Lowbies everywhere rejoice.

Mulgore – Tauren, now in tune with many magics (Paladin magics, Priest magics, and all other lol magics) are finally able to figure out how to miniaturize their home zone. It no longer takes a day and a half to run from Orgrimmar to Thunder Bluff.

Stonetalon Mountains – the Charred Vale finally just burns itself up and becomes a peaceful lake. Harpies become extinct.

Ashenvale – Night Elves become mages, but suck, and therefore explode Astranaar and everything in a 10 mile radius. Rhonin is pissed. There is now a mini-maelstrom in the middle of the zone and a blimp from Zoram’gar Outpost and Splintertree Post. ALTERNATE IDEA: Just give Horde a road that doesn’t go through the freakin’ Alliance town!

Hillsbrad Foothills – Southshore falls off the map, the Horde can now kill yetis and mountain lions without having to worry about Alliance coming and ganking them. Alterac Mountains is absorbed into the same zone and a pact is made between the Horde and Ravenholdt, who become a new faction, but only for Horde. Alliance flock to Caverns of Time to run Battle for Durnholde Keep and spend many hours in Southshore crying and missing it.

Arathi Highlands – the Princess is finally smothered in her cave. Quest line no longer exists. Also, all raptors now drop eyes.

Desolace – disappears, but no one really notices… The last person to level there was in Vanilla WoW anyway.

Dustwallow Marsh – in order to join the Horde, goblins must first cut down all the branches in this zone so that we can finally see it. When we see it, we decide it’s ugly, so we let murlocs take it over. No one ever thinks about it again. Murlocs live happily ever after.

Swamp of Sorrows – see Dustwallow Marsh.

Feralas – road is no longer elevated. No more accidental deaths for auto-running off of the mountain while typing things out in chat to your friends.

Azshara – all players in this zone now have the ability to jump from wherever they are to where they have to be. With time saved from no longer having to look for hours for a way back up in to the zone from the beach, players are finally able to eradicate Naga.

Searing Gorge and Burning Steppes – merge in to one zone with no stupid, huge, hard to navigate cave in the middle.

Deadwind Pass – becomes the new mage portal since Swamp of Sorrows was taken over by Murlocs. Still useless.

Outland – stays classy. We love you, bb!

Northrend – no one ever goes there again. Blizzard apologizes for the crappiness of these zones and implements cold-weather leveling – a scroll that allows alts to level from 70 to 80.

Bonus: Naxxramas floats away from Northrend to settle over Moonglade, where it becomes the second raid of the new expansion. The first raid is Tempest Keep, which would explain why the first time around was merely a setback.

Written by Mariana

August 20, 2009 at 6:51 pm